Publication Order of Easy Rawlins Books
|Devil in a Blue Dress||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Red Death||(1991)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|White Butterfly||(1992)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Black Betty||(1994)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|A Little Yellow Dog||(1995)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Gone Fishin'||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Bad Boy Brawly Brown||(2000)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Six Easy Pieces||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Little Scarlet||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Cinnamon Kiss||(2005)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Blonde Faith||(2007)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Little Green||(2013)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Rose Gold||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Charcoal Joe||(2016)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Easy Rawlins is a private Investigator who is the protagonist of a novel series written by Walter Mosley. The mystery novel series is set in the 1940’s and it runs through the 1960’s. The series contains 10 novels, beginning with “Devil in a Blue Dress”, which was published in 1990 and set in 1948. The series ends with the novel “Rose Gold”, which was published in 2014. In the novels, Rawlins resides in Watts, Los Angeles. This community is historically known for its racial uprisings and riots. The national attention in that area as a result of racial segregation and oppression sets the premise for Rawlins’ background. With an socially troubled community, the series exploits the racial inequities and the social injustices experienced by African Americans during that time. Rawlins, a World War II veteran, is a balanced character whose fictional encounters with mystery and crime underlined by race and class take readers on a emotional and captivating journey back in time.
Introduced as Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins, Rawlins is an African American man, born November 3, 1920 in Louisiana, but raised in Texas. When he was only 7 years old, Rawlins’ father abandoned his family, and shortly after that, his mother died. As a adult, Rawlins serves in World War II, and leaves the military as a veteran, only to work at a aircraft assembly plant. Upon loosing his job, Rawlins becomes an private investigator, ironically during a racial oppressive time period in American history.
During the time that Rawlins was introduced, there were already other fictional African American detectives featured in other novel series, such as Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, and Ross Macdonald’s Lev Archer, who many claimed Rawlins was modeled after. Yet, Rawlins greatly differed from them, being that he was untrained and unlicensed. Rawlins did not have prior experience in law enforcement, unlike Marlowe and Archer, so his style and approach was rough around the edges and untamed. Without restrictions, Rawlins methods do not fall in line with enforcement protocols or regulations. Instead, Rawlins’ associations with rebels and misfits lead a story unlike the others.
The first novel, “Devil in a Blue Dress” has just become recently unemployed when he looses his job as a plant worker. Without the recent lost of his income, Rawlings is uncertain how is going to pay his mortgage, and in a moment of grieving, he visits a local bar to have a drink. During his visit, Rawlins encounters a friend who enlightens Rawlins with an investigative job opportunity to find a thief named Daphne Monet. Monet is accused of stealing a large sum of money from a wealthy business man named Todd Carter. Carter wants Monet found and the money returned. Down on his luck, Rawlings entertains the mission and accepts the task, which marks the beginning his newfound journey as a private investigator. Rawlins finds Monet, but this is where the plot thickens since Monet has a plan of her own. After enlisting the help of Rawlins charming but dangerous childhood sidekick Mouse, Rawlins embarks on a journey filled to capacity with blackmail and murder. In the end, Mouse is the unsuspecting key to the resolution of the mystery and the ultimate success of Rawlings. With all the suspense, drama and plot twists, “Devil in the Blue Dress” was the most popular and widely read novel of the series by far.
In fact, “Devil in a Blue Dress” won the 1991 Shamus Award for the “Best First P.I. Novel”. In 1995, Denzel Washington took the novel to the big screen when he portrayed Rawlings in the film adaptation of the novel, entitled “Devil in a Blue Dress”, the same as the novel. Washington’s portrayal earned him the nomination for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor. With such success, NBC announced in 2011 that they were going to produce a prime time project titled “Easy Rawlins”, based on the novel series but beginning with the events cultivated in “Devil in a Blue Dress”.
“Devil in the Blue Dress” sets the tone for the fifth book of the series, “Gone Fishing”, as the plot for the story is briefly discussed in “Devil in the Blue Dress”. Mouse, although he is volatile and murderous, is instrumental and ultimately responsible for Rawlins success in “Devil in the Blue Dress”. The friendship between Mouse and Rawlins is further explored in “Gone Fishin”, which is set in 1939. During this time, Rawlins is 19 years old, and embarks on a journey his hometown in Texas with Mouse. This Bildunsroman, or coming-of-age story, is the only novel about Rawlins that is not based around the investigations of his adulthood circumstances. Instead, “Gone Fishing” proves an in-depth look into the psychological and moral growth of both Rawlins and his childhood friend, Mouse.
The journey manages to introduce both protagonist to sex, death, family and forgiveness, and it ends with a tale of murder. For those readers who have already read the first four installments of the series, “Gone Fishing” gives readers a chance to peer into the souls of Rawlins and Mouse. By providing this multidimensional view of the characters, readers gain a varying perspective of the characters. As Rawlins and Mouse encounter situations involving witchcraft and mysterious dead bodies, they both reveal who they are to become as they grow into their true selves. Rawlings is a naive, illiterate and grieving young man who we have come to know as survivor as an adult. In contrast, quick witted Mouse is a carrying a startling grudge, and his vengeance is the fuel that drives the hidden plot. Until this novel, we know that Mouse is unpredictable, violent and murderously vicious, yet suave and smooth talking.
After reading this installment, you will discover the victimized side of Mouse, which will reconstruct all of your preconceived understandings of his individuality and his relationship with Rawlins. Once you discover the inner conflictions of Mouse after his innocence was stolen, you will want to go back and reread the other novels. It will feel like reading a brand new novel because you will feel like Mouse is a brand new character. With so many defining moments, “Gone Fishin” also elevates the platform for which the subsequent novels are based. As the intensity and complexities increase from this point on in the series, this novel becomes more and more apparent as being a pivotal novel. Although this novel was chronologically out of order, it strategically reveals the insight needed to comprehend what is yet to come. All in all, the events that are described in “Gone Fishin” forges a friendship between Mouse and Rawlins that is intricately detrimental to the set of events unbeknownst to them.
The entire Rawlins series is captivating and enjoyable, from one book to the next. The first novel is just as captivating as the last novel and the mystery and suspense grows with intensity as you progress through the series. With raving ratings and outstanding reviews, the entertainment found in the mysterious series is second to none.Book Series In Order » Characters » Easy Rawlins